Prevalence and correlates of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in Australia: findings of the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Addiction. 2010 Dec;105(12):2085-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03096.x. Epub 2010 Aug 12.


Aims: To report nationally representative data on the prevalence and correlates (including psychiatric comorbidity and treatment) of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in Australian adults.

Design: The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB).

Setting: Australian nationally representative household survey.

Participants: 8841 Australian adults (16-85 years).

Measurements: Interview schedule that assessed symptoms of the most prevalent DSM-IV mental disorders in the life-time and the past 12 months.

Findings: Prevalence of life-time and 12-month disorders was 18.3% and 2.9% for alcohol abuse and 3.9% and 1.4% for alcohol dependence. Current alcohol abuse and dependence was significantly more common in males and younger adults. There were significant associations between current alcohol use and other drug use disorders (OR 18.2) and between anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders (OR 2.6). Only 22.4% of those with alcohol use disorders were treated for their alcohol disorder.

Conclusions: Alcohol use disorders are highly prevalent, especially among young adult males. Comorbidity between anxiety and other drug use disorders is common and remains a significant challenge for the delivery of effective health-care services and treatment. The low rate of effective interventions for alcohol problems is a significant public health concern.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult